Majorities of Catholics in Both Houses of Congress Support Equality
Catholics for Equality Lays out Legislative Priorities for the 112th Congress, Pledges to Help Establish Unofficial Pro-Equality Catholic Caucuses
WASHINGTON - Catholics for Equality, a national organization of Catholics who put their faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families, announced today their legislative priorities for the 112th Congress and their plan to help form unofficial pro-equality Catholic caucuses in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Though there are no official faith-based Congressional caucuses, Catholics for Equality's survey of the 112th Congress showed not only a significant number of Catholic Members of Congress in both Houses - 24 Catholic Senators (24% of Senate) and 133 Catholic Representatives (34% of House) - but the more interesting breakdowns fall down party line and support for LGBT equality.
"This is one of the few non-partisan, non-LGBT groupings in the 112th Congress where not only do Democrats still outnumber Republicans in both Houses, but where pro-equality Members still outnumber those opposed to LGBT equality," said Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey.
Catholic Democrats outnumber Catholic Republicans in the Senate 15 to 9. In the House, Catholic Democrats outnumber Catholic Republicans 72 to 61. Catholics in both Houses also lean pro-equality, either through support for LGBT legislation in previous Congresses or though their support for LGBT issues during their election campaigns.
"The pro-equality Catholic reality on Capitol Hill is important to recognize," said Attey. "Combined with recent polling showing American Catholics to be solidly in support of LGBT equality, we have an environment on the Hill where pro-equality Members of Congress, even in a hostile Congress, can address the need to end legal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity because of, not in spite of, their faith. If they band together, this could be a game-changer for LGBT equality on Capitol Hill."
Catholics for Equality laid out legislative priorities for the 112th Congress. Top priorities include:
Catholics for Equality will focus on providing Catholic Members of Congress supportive messaging on Catholic social justice teaching, as well as provide evidence of how these issues personally affect Catholic families across the country. In September 2010 Catholics for Equality brought Catholic soldiers to Capitol Hill to tell their stories and educate Catholic leaders in Congress on how Don't Ask Don't Tell personally detracted from their ability to do their jobs and jeopardized unit safety. One of the soldiers was U.S. Marine Walker Brutschell of Florida.
"Being discharged and being outted to my family was just not an option, "explained Brutschell. "I felt my life was about to end and because of the messages I grew up receiving from the Church, I didn't feel I could turn to our Catholic chaplain."
"Our experience on the Hill has not only been effective and positive, but spiritually powerful," reflects Attey. "Members of Congress receive a great deal of anti-equality pressure from paid USCCB lobbyists , but for the first time they have Catholics formally meeting with them in their offices, urging them to support LGBT Equality. We not only felt like we were changing hearts, minds and votes, but making history!"
Catholics for Equality empowers pro-equality Catholics to put our faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.
Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members.